Mongoose has refined the bearings and pivots to increase lateral stiffness and durability on the Teocali, and we didn’t have any issues. There is a sorted component package on offer as well, with wide enough bars, lock-on grips, quality Hayes Stroker brakes and a mixture of Deore and SLX kit.
The Teocali is the heaviest on test, even with this comparable kit, so you have to assume the weight lies in the complex frame design. The bike’s layout sees a long chainstay and shorter front triangle and, as on the Reign, an interrupted seat-tube, meaning you have to break out the saw again for suitable descending clearance. The FreeDrive design is essentially a single high pivot design, with the bottom bracket isolated from the front triangle to fight the chain growth this set-up can give you. It means you are effectively riding along on the swingarm when out of the saddle, and any suspension movement involves an intimate relationship with the rider in order to get it moving. Overall geometry is sound with a centred riding position.
A Fox RP2 and the same OEM Marzocchi 44 found on the Giant carry out suspension duties. The rear shock offers ProPedal lock-out and a large volume that can allow lower pressures. This helps the Teocali move better than previous versions we’ve ridden. The fork has all the small bump sensitivity we’ve come to expect of a Marzocchi, and tracks well when climbing or moving quite slowly. On big hits and at speed the fork dives quite badly and has a distinct lack of compression damping. With the 5-way control set to the maximum compression damping available, we found the fork far from capable of the control needed for fast descending. We put more air in the fork than for the recommended rider weight to try and prop up the front on both the Teocali and the Giant but still couldn’t get the support we found with the RockShox.
Rider position is good on the Teocali. The front end is low enough to get some solid grip, and with its shortest-on-test wheelbase it feels pretty manoeuvrable. Side-to-side
dynamism is a fair way off the lightweight Cannondale, though.
The FreeDrive configuration on the Mongoose pedals really well, and the bike can climb no problem, with little pedal feedback or clearance issues. It also feels stable under braking.
While there are no nasty surprises on the Mongoose, it can be a bumpy ride at speed as your feet get bounced off the pedals more here than on any other bike on test. We didn’t think the suspension was the most effective, especially on the more DH-orientated tracks or with big hits. On the same back-to-back test loops at Afan, the Teocali was the only bike to suffer from pinch flats on the rear, which may just be chance or possibly an indication that the rear suspension wasn’t working as well as others. Essentially, the bike is solid and surefooted, but we want to work for our thrills rather than just efficiently get from A to B.
The Teocali feels solid, stable and capable. Rider position and geometry are good, but the bike still feels a little uninspiring. Clocking in as the heaviest ride, the Mongoose lacks the urgency or poise of some of the others tested — namely the Specialized and the Cannondale.
The suspension design means that with the rider effectively suspended from the swingarm there is a ton of feedback from the terrain, and it’s difficult for the suspension to react quickly to big hits as the rider weight is counteracting the movement of the rear end. The Marzocchi fork up front, while typically plush, exhibited the same compression damping deficiency as on the Giant, and doesn’t offer the control of the RockShox.
NEED TO KNOW
Frame: 6061 aluminium, Fox Float RP2 XV, 145mm
fork: Marzocchi 44, 140mm
sizes: S, M, L, XL
weight: 14.3kg (31.6lb)
Mbr rating: 7